DHAKA: A Bangladeshi film director was arrested and charged after a scene in which the police harshly questioned a rape victim and highlighted attitudes towards violence against women in the conservative nation provoked the ire of the force.
The first half of Nabab LLB, a fictional court drama about rape and the treatment of victims starring megastar Shakib Khan, was released on a local streaming service in mid-December.
The scene from the Anonno Mamun-directed movie went viral on social media last week, with criticism leveled at the police for their handling of the case.
It forcibly enraged, with 34-year-old Mamun and the actor who played the cop, 46-year-old Shaheen Mridha, arrested on Friday.
The couple faces up to seven years in jail if convicted
“The officer was interrogating her using very offensive gestures and obscene language which is the opposite of healthy entertainment and will create negative perceptions of surveillance among the public,” the Dhaka Metropolitan Police said on its news portal.
The statement added that the couple were arrested “for making and acting in a film that contains such offensive and obscene dialogue.”
They faced court on Friday and were charged with “making a movie with pornographic content” in a different scene depicting the sexual assault, police added.
Officers said they were also seeking to arrest Orchita Sporshia, the 27-year-old actress who played the rape victim.
A senior police officer said Saturday that the film “insulted the entire force.”
“The plot is completely fabricated and it’s disgusting. It is based on a total falsehood, ”said the officer, who asked to remain anonymous.
The couple face up to seven years in jail if convicted.
Movies are generally vetted by the country’s censorship board, but regulations to include streaming service offerings have yet to be finalized.
There are five local streaming platforms in Bangladesh, including iTheatre, which launched Nabab LLB. The second part of the film will be released in early January.
The arrests were reported by rights activists, who said the film accurately depicted the struggles that rape victims face in the Bangladeshi legal system.
“These arrests are nothing new, but the continuation of attacks on artistic freedom,” said activist Rezaur Rahman Lenin.
Activists say violence against women is increasing in Bangladesh.
According to the local human rights organization Ain-o-Salish Kendra (ASK), between April and August more than 630 cases of rape were reported, with 29 women killed after the attack, while another five took their own lives.
Posted in Dawn, Dec 27, 2020